5 Detroit Lions players to watch during joint practices against the New York Giants

As they get ready to welcome the New York Giants for joint practices before Friday night's preseason opener, here are five Detroit Lions players to watch during those sessions
/ Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Brian Branch, Detroit Lions
/ Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

5. DB Brian Branch

Branch has been a training camp standout, regularly praised in any daily practice recap you'll find. He is pushing for a significant role in a now loaded Lions' secondary. He is flashing the versatility and skills that will make it easy for defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to get him on the field, and make it hard to keep him off.

As a carryover to working against Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond in the first couple weeks of camp practice, Branch is lined up to get plenty of work against a deep set of wide receivers the Giants may use in the slot (Wandale Robinson, Parris Campbell, Sterling Shepard, Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley). Not that he'll have trouble handling his business, but the rookie out of Alabama will get a fresh test this week.

4. RB Mohamed Ibrahim

An easily buzzed about undrafted rookie deemed to have a good chance to make the Lions' roster, Ibrahim's star has faded thus far in camp. Not necessarily due to any fault of his own, though. He simply hasn't gotten a lot of prominent practice reps in a deep running back room.

Preseason games are set to be very important for the former Minnesota Golden Gopher. But the first preseason game for Ibrahim, in a broad sense, arguably starts with the joint practices against the Giants going into Friday night's game as he tries to capture some momentum.